WASHINGTON--I watched the MoveOn.org "virtual" Town Hall on Tuesday night from Ben's Chili Bowl on U. Street here. About 50 people--who probably could have stayed at home and listened on their laptops or tuned into Air America--wanted to be together to hear what the Democratic 2008 presidential candidates had to say about ending the war in Iraq.
A winner wasn't clear from the sentiment in the room. And that's interesting, when you read on about the results of MoveOn.org's straw vote. Somehow, the group dynamic at these "house parties" such as the one I attended impacted the impression each candidate made with the MoveOn.org members.
The overall "straw vote" balloting that MoveOn.org sponsored for its members 24 hours after the podcast (the interviews with the seven Democrats were taped in the afternoon) created a winner: Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), followed by former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.), Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Oh.), New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) and Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Ct.).
But MoveOn.org members who attended one of the "house parties" voted a different winner, Edwards, who called for Congress to fight President Bush over his veto threats of a war funding bill with timelines, came in first followed by Richardson, Obama, Kucinich, Biden, Clinton and Dodd.
In whole numbers, there were overall 42,882 votes cast. Of that total, 4,037 votes were from "house party" voters. Obama prevailed in the overall 42,882 balloting. Edwards won the 4,037 votes subset. Either way, the straw poll suggests that Clinton will have trouble winning over the hard-core anti-war get out of Iraq now vote.
for MoveOn.org survey results, click below
from MoveOn.org ......
Re: Obama Wins MoveOn Straw Poll on Iraq Policy
Senator Barack Obama led a field of seven Democratic presidential hopefuls in MoveOn.org Political Action’s straw poll on the question “Which candidate do you believe would be best able to lead the country out of Iraq?” Obama received 27.87% of the total votes cast and was followed closely by former Senator John Edwards who garnered 24.74%.
The membership vote was conducted during the 24 hours following the organization’s Tuesday night Virtual Town Hall at which the contenders answered members’ questions about US policy in Iraq.
Anyone who was a MoveOn member as of 7 pm EST Tuesday, April 10th was eligible to vote. Members did not have to listen to the Town Hall to vote.
MoveOn members listened to the event at home, on Air America or at more than 1,000 house parties across the country.
MoveOn member vote, overall:
MoveOn members who watched the Town Hall at one of the parties voted differently from those who did not:
Votes by MoveOn members who attended House Parties:
“MoveOn's Town Halls bring real people into the political process in a meaningful way. Candidates answered questions from MoveOn members, not big donors or political pundits," said Eli Pariser, MoveOn.org Political Action’s Executive Director. "It was great to hear the top Democratic presidential candidates vie for who has a better plan to get us out of Iraq. We have come a long way in the last few years," he added
The next Virtual Town Hall is tentatively scheduled for June and will discuss global warming. A third and final Town Hall will take place in late August and will focus on health care.